ASPPH logo


Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

BU Alumnus Honored by International Society for Environmental Epidemiology

Dr. Aaron J. Cohen will receive the John Goldsmith Award for Outstanding Contributions to Environmental Epidemiology and present the John Goldsmith Memorial Lecture at the 29th Annual Scientific Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology in Sydney, Australia, on September 25.

[Photo: Dr. Aaron J. Cohen]

Dr. Cohen is a consulting principal scientist at the Boston-based Health Effects Institute (HEI), and for 26 years led HEI’s U.S. and international epidemiologic research programs on the adverse effects of air pollution before retiring in 2016. Since 1999, he has served as a temporary advisor to the World Health Organization (WHO), and previously served as a member of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working groups on diesel exhaust and outdoor air pollution. Since 2000, Cohen has led the development of the estimates for the global burden of disease from ambient air pollution as part of the Global Burden of Disease project.

Dr. Cohen completed a masters of public health at Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) in 1985, and a DSc in epidemiology in 1991. He is now an adjunct assistant professor of environmental health at BUSPH and an affiliate professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

Dr. Cohen’s Goldsmith lecture is titled “The Descriptive Epidemiology of Air Pollution: Today’s Burden, Tomorrow’s Questions.” Exposure to air pollution contributed to an estimated 6.1 million deaths — 11 percent of total global mortality — in 2016, Dr. Cohen says, making air pollution the fourth greatest risk factor for mortality worldwide. “Tracking the evolution of the air pollution-attributable burden remains a major task of environmental epidemiology,” he says, “a good example of what Dean Sandro Galea has called ‘consequential epidemiology’.”

The International Society of Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE) is an international organization with members from more than 60 countries, addressing issues including environmental exposures, health effects, methodology, environment-gene interactions, and ethics and law.

Learn more